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Conversion Tracking

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

What is it?

Conversions are those valuable actions like sales or leads that are generated on our website following a click. Conversions are really important to measure to understand the value that your paid search campaign is driving.

Conversion tracking shows, ultimately, what happens after a customer clicks. It can be measured through things like Google Ads but also through things like Google Analytics, your website analytics tool. It’s very important to decide what is your single source of truth here. So if you’re using Google Analytics for all of your channel reporting, use Google Analytics reporting for Google Ads as well. It’s generally not good practice to use different reporting standards across how you’re reporting your conversions.

However, with things like display, we find like post impression and where people see the ad but don’t necessarily buy, but then maybe they buy through search at a later stage. That type of metric can be reported in using things like DoubleClick and integrated with how powerful analytics programs like Analytics 360. But generally deciding on a single source of truth for your conversion tracking is essential to ensure the validity of your reporting.

Examples of conversion types

The types of conversions we could track are:

  • Leads
  • Purchases
  • Phone calls
  • Downloads

Remember, you can click an ad in Google Ads and it can lead to a phone call. The length of that phone call can be measured. It can be tracked back to that ad. So if you drive a number of phone calls that were ten minutes of length each to your sales team from Google Ads, you can probably understand that there’s value in that. And then the last one would obviously be downloads of your mobile app. These are the types of conversions that we can track and should track when we’re doing any kind of paid search activity.

Website tracking would be you install a piece of code on your “Thank you page”, so when someone completes a form, and it says, “Thank you for content to us”, or put it on your purchase confirmation page where, when someone buy something, and it says, “Your order is now complete”. The tag fires and sends the information back to Google Ads and we can see the conversion.

You can also track any kind of app installs. That links directly with Google Play. So because obviously it’s a Google product so you can see what happens afterwards. And if you use tools like Firebase or any of the analytics tools for apps, you’re able to see a little bit more how the app is being used and maybe you understand things like lifetime customer value. So app reporting is also important.

Phone call reporting includes calls from your ads, from mobile phone users. We can measure the length. This is useful for understanding the value of direct sales calls from searches.

You’re able to import data from Google Analytics is one, or your CRM, or from other analytics platforms or different integrations. It’s a key consideration because if you have that single source of truth like Google Analytics, this is where you would import those goals from.

Adding conversion tracking to Google Ads

Let’s look at standard Google Ads conversion tracking. You create a conversion in the main menu up at the top, and then you guide yourself through the process, you name the conversion.

You say what type of conversion it is. Is it a lead? Is it a sale? You note the value of the conversion. If you want to count every single conversion or just unique conversions, you can choose that too. And then how long do you want to leave the window open for a conversion? So if someone clicks your ad, and converts within 30 days, does that get attributed to the original click?

You can also choose what attribution model you want to use on your conversion tracking. The default is Last Click and, but there’s also First Click position-based and other models depending on what’s most relevant to you. You’re then presented with a piece of code and that piece of code needs to be put on the “Thank you” page or the confirmation page of your website. You don’t put it on every page. You only put it on the page that you see directly after the conversion happens.

Usually, when you fill in a form, you press Submit, and you see “Thank you for your getting in touch”. The only time that “Thank you for getting in touch” that page has ever shown is when someone completes that conversion. So we want to track visits to this page.

Likewise, the only time you ever see “Thank you your order is complete” is when someone has bought something. So we want to track the amount of people that visit that page.

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Cathal Melinn

Cathal Melinn is a well-known digital marketing director, commercial analyst, and ecommerce specialist with over 15 years’ experience.

Cathal is a respected international conference speaker, course lecturer, and digital trainer. He specialises in driving complete understanding from students across a number of digital marketing disciplines including: paid and organic search (PPC and SEO), analytics, strategy and planning, social media, reporting, and optimisition.  Cathal works with digital professionals in over 80 countries and teaches at all levels of experience from beginner to advanced.

Alongside his training and course work, Cathal runs his own digital marketing agency and is considered an analytics and revenue generating guru - at enterprise level. He has extensive local and international experience working with top B2B and B2C brands across multiple industries.

Over his career, Cathal has worked client-Side, in digital marketing agencies and media owners with brands including HSBC, Amazon, Apple, Red Bull, Dell, Vodafone, Compare the Market, Aer Lingus, and Expedia.

He can be reached on LinkedIn here.

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

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    This module begins with the key concepts of paid search and demonstrates how to set up a Google Ads account and create a paid search campaign. It explains how to manage a paid search campaign budget effectively and outlines the different methods that can be used to optimize your paid search campaign. It also covers how to measure and report on the success of a paid search campaign.